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It has been estimated by the United Kingdom’s Home Office that “irresponsible” drinking costs taxpayers in the U.K. between £18-25  ($29-40) billion a year. Additionally, there were nearly 1 million alcohol-related violent crimes, and 1.2 million alcohol-related hospital admissions in the U.K. in 2011.

In an effort to get a handle on the ever-increasing issue of socially-accepted alcohol misuse and the resulting costs and risks, in 2012, officials in the U.K. took a look across the pond to the U.S. for guidance. As part of this effort, South Dakota’s innovative and successful 24/7 Sobriety Program took center stage, and officials there all began to evaluate their ability to replicate the model in order to tackle what they see as an epidemic.

Despite reports that say U.K. society views alcohol misuse as a social norm, a survey of Londoners shows support for banning alcohol consumption for criminal offenders. The 24/7 pilot programs are one component of an overall social responsibility campaign in the U.K. aimed at toughening laws, access to alcohol, and consequences for alcohol-fueled offenses.

Offenders in a 24/7 program are required to be tested every 30 minutes for alcohol by the SCRAM CAM alcohol monitoring bracelet, or they agree to a twice daily breath tests. Violations result in immediate consequences and likely prosecution of the original crime. Last month, the RAND Corporation’s Drug Policy Research Center released the results of a three-year study that concluded South Dakota’s 24/7 program reduced both drunk driving and domestic violence recidivism. Encouraging news for the U.K. as well as other U.S. states already implement the program.

Sobering Up Administrator

Sobering Up Administrator

Sobering Up: A blog about drunk driving, alcohol addiction, and criminal justice, is anything but a corporate blog. Sobering Up is an opportunity for anyone interested or involved in the issues of drunk driving, alcohol-fueled crime, alcohol dependence and addiction, and the justice system to participate in the conversation.

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